Cairo: Egypt’s President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi said Friday there was no cause for concern over protests against his rule that are planned for later in the day.
“There are no reasons for concern. Egypt is a strong country thanks to Egyptians,” he told reporters with a smile, shortly after his return from the UN General Assembly in New York.
Rare protests against Al Sissi’s rule erupted last week in Cairo and other major cities.
Last week, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry has lashed out at Qatari TV Al Jazeera for what he called its “unprofessional” coverage of rare protests against Al Sissi.
“The situation in Egypt is stable, but some unprofessional media outlets such as Al Jazeera are propagating untrue images,” Shoukry added late Saturday in remarks to private television station MBC Masr.
“This is driven by deep grudge over accomplishments that Egypt has achieved. Hostile media begrudge these achievements,” he added from New York where he is attending with Al Sissi the annual UN General Assembly meetings.
Late last Friday, small protests were held in several parts of Egypt and excessively covered by Al Jazeera, a mouthpiece of Egypt’s now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
Police dispersed a small demonstration in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the focal point of 2011 mass protests that forced longtime president Hosni Mubarak to resign.
The protests were in response to online calls by Brotherhood-linked media and dissident Egyptian businessman-cum-actor Mohammad Ali, who had fled the country to Spain alleging in viral videos corruption by the military.
TV stations loyal to the Brotherhood, based in Turkey and Qatar, have over recent days incited Egyptians to take to the streets in large numbers to demand Al Sissi to step down.
In 2013, the army, then led by Al Sissi, toppled president Mohammad Mursi of the Brotherhood following enormous street protests against his one-year rule.
The Brotherhood and their loyalists have since engaged in violence in Egypt and sought to derail Al Sissi’s efforts to re-establish security in the country. Egypt has also experienced a spate of militant attacks that the government has blamed on the Brotherhood.
Since he took office in 2015, Al Sissi has largely restored stability to Egypt and rejuvenated its battered economy.